File 70 - Fr Joseph Brennan SJ

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IE IJA J/70

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Fr Joseph Brennan SJ

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(24 January 1843-10 September 1923)

Biographical history

Born: 24 January 1843, Piersfield, County Westmeath
Entered: 16 March 1880, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: - pre Entry
Final Vows: 02 February 1891, Australia
Died: 10 September 1923, Mater Hospital, Sydney Australia

part of the St Mary’s, Miller St, Sydney, Australia community at the time of death

Came to Australia 1889 for Regency

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He had already been Ordained for the Meath Diocese and was working there before Entry.
He made his Novitiate at Milltown under Charles McKenna.
1882 He and Thomas) Keating arrived in Australia
On arrival in Australia he was sent to work at North Shore, Sydney, and with the exception of a couple of years teaching at Riverview and Kew, he spent the rest of his life there.
He was Minister at St Mary’s Miller St more than once and Superior from 1893-1902.
He was about medium height and of ascetic appearance, wore a beard and was sufficiently active as a Missioner. Occasionally he wrote a little for pious publications such as the “Messenger of the Sacred Heart”. - James Rabbitte.
Note from Thomas Keating Entry :
1881 He returned to Milltown. he had offered for the Australian Mission, and sailed there with Joseph Brennan, who was a Novice Priest at the time.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He studied Philosophy and Theology at Maynooth before he entered as a Priest Novice in Milltown 16 March 1880.

1882-1887 After First Vows he was sent to teach in Australia at Xavier College, Kew and St Ignatius Riverview 1882-1883 and 1895-1897, then at the beginning of a relationship with St Mary’s, North Sydney 1883-1885.
1887-1923 He returned to St Mary’s, North Sydney, where he travelled around the vast parish, chiefly on horseback. He died there after an illness of a few weeks from a serious kidney complaint.

While in Sydney he held most offices including Minister, and Superior 1893-1902. he was also confessor to Jesuits in the Sydney Parishes when he was not Superior, and also served as a Spiritual Director. he was Moderator of the “Holy Childhood” from 1913, and the “Association for the Propagation of the Faith” and the “Eucharistic League” from 1917. He was a small man but a great worker. During his time as Parish Priest he built a school for girls and also additions to the church. In his latter years, when age hampered him, he spent more time in the confessional and baptising.
He was widely read in Theology and History - especially the history of Ireland. Cardinal Moran, Archbishop of Sydney, claimed that enjoyed reading anything that Brennan wrote. He wrote an article on the history of the parish of the North Shore in “Our Australian Missions”, and one entitles “France and the Frenchmen” in the “Austral Light”, June 1898.

He had a kindly and lovable disposition, meek but not weak. he had a ready wit and was often the source of great joy in company. There were two subjects upon which one could never joke, the Church and Ireland.

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Biographical information on Fr Joseph Brennan SJ.

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